Collective Soul 2024 interview

Interview – Dean Roland of Collective Soul

Collective Soul 2024

It is said you cannot move forward if you are always looking backwards… and Collective Soul has lived by these words. Out of Georgia, Collective Soul are a band that skyrocketed to success in 1994 with their number # 1 Alternative Rock single “Shine.” Taken from their debut album Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, no one could have ever imagined that the band would go onto cultivate 30 years of consistent success highlighted by a ton of radio hits and platinum selling records. 

A story for the ages, Collective Soul have remained one of the ’90s biggest Alternative Rock bands through the decades, and are still going. Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2024, they not only reissued 1999’s Dosage album to vinyl in April, have extensive touring planned, but are back with a landmark double album they call Here to Eternity. Consisting of 20 songs, the album arrives on May 17th and finds Collective Soul once again firing on all cycles. Excited about what is to come, Guitarist Dean Roland took some time to look back on the last 3 decades, the keys to success, the work they put into Here to Eternity, plus more. 

Cryptic Rock – Collective Soul has built a very long, rich history. A story that goes back over 30 years, the band has attained a tremendous amount of success along the way. Before we go any further, what has this incredible journey been like for you thus far?

Dean Roland – Oh, gosh. That’s a lot to unfold and a great question. It’s been great. We knew that we were given an opportunity to do what we love and hopefully make a career out of it. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. Like any kind of relationship or career, you’re going to have some highs and some lows. You just try to manage that. You can’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low.

We really stay focused on our passion for music and the opportunity that we were given early on to create music and share that passion with other people. Hopefully, it’s reciprocated or it’s appreciated and received.

Cryptic Rock – Right. Well, it certainly has been appreciated. When you guys released the debut record back in ’94, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, you obviously had big songs on it like “Shine.” From there you continued to move forward and write some really memorable songs through the decade. Not an easy feat to accomplish at all, what do you attribute the band’s success to? Obviously, good songwriting, but what Collective Soul has done is really rather special.

Dean Roland – Yeah, it is. We’ve never really been a band to do a lot of reflection. Knowing it was going to be the 30th year anniversary… we just finished a career-spanning documentary. We also recorded this latest double record at Elvis Presley’s house and his estate in Palm Springs, CA.

I don’t really know what to attribute everything to. Obviously, we respected the opportunity that we were given. Of course, we’ve made massive mistakes along the way and done some stupid things, but we’ve always tried to keep it in perspective with a state of gratitude. I don’t want to sound too cheesy, but it is about just being able to appreciate what we get to do for a living. It doesn’t hurt that I’m in a band with my brother and lifelong friends. There is a rooted history in the band and a lot of common themes that are there. That helps with the longevity as well.

Collective Soul - Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid
Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid / Atlantic (1994)
Collective Soul
Collective Soul / Atlantic (1995)

Cryptic Rock – And beyond that longevity, the band has also been pretty prolific. If you look at the history of it all, Collective Soul have pretty much produced an album every two years since the start. That is really impressive!

Dean Roland – Yeah. I mean, that’s the other thing too. As I said, we don’t really look back too much. It’s always just like, “Let’s keep going and have fun with it.” We enjoy one another’s company. We go to work and enjoy creating, recording and playing music. For us, it’s the best gig that we could ask for.

Cryptic Rock – It doesn’t get any better than doing what you love. And you know in the midst of all of the albums that you have released, you have also done some really cool, different things as well. For example, in 2006, you released the live album Home where you recorded with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. In 2005, you put out the really wonderful EP From the Ground Up. The point is, you have diverted and done different things often.

Dean Roland – Yeah. A lot of that really is a little selfish. It’s more for us just to have a little fun. The Youth Symphony record was just one of the highlights of our career, to be honest. We just had a blast doing that. And it was a challenge for us to perform and to hear our own music in a different light. It was fun, but it was also, not just us on the stage; we’re playing to and with a symphony with a conductor. There was a lot going on there that we weren’t necessarily used to. Those kinds of things are a fun challenge.

Cryptic Rock – Right, and looking at that career highlight a little more, the live record still sounds great. So, now we have the 30th anniversary of Collective Soul, and you are set to release your 12th studio album. Entitled Here to Eternity, it is a big release too… because it is a double album. What was it like writing and recording the material? 

Dean Roland – It was great. We met a couple of fellas a few years ago that owned the Elvis Presley estate in Palm Springs. It was like his getaway house. He had two homes; obviously, the one in Graceland, and then this house in Palm Springs. These guys bought it, and they’ve just been kind of sitting on it. No one’s lived in it for many, many years. We just ask them politely, “Hey, would you mind, and would it be cool, if we put our studio gear in there and recorded a record?” I think Elvis recorded a couple of gospel records there, and that was it. They said yes to us, so we just took them up on the offer.

We had talked about doing a double record over the years and the idea had been floating around. When you go into the studio, you have a framework of songs, some ideas, or however you want to approach it. But we went in, and things started to flow quickly. Once you hit that momentum, you just keep going. We just kept going and it organically turned into enough material to do a double record. It really wasn’t really a premeditated thought, as much as just sort of it happening.

Cryptic Rock – Well, it had to be a big undertaking, but it seems to work well. You also mix in some live tracks in here too, such as “Bob Dylan.”

Dean Roland – Yeah, that was done in Nashville. Ed was doing that song as an acoustic break, the band hopped off stage and he would do that jam. We recorded that show live, it was actually recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Just one of those things that felt right. It felt appropriate for the song. The venue was perfect too… so we just went with it.

Collective Soul Dosage
Dosage / El Music Group (1999)
Collective Soul Home
Home / El Music Group (2006)

Cryptic Rock – It fits well within the fabric of the album. It adds even more character to this new album that people will really enjoy.

Dean Roland – I hope so. When you’re doing a double record like this, you want to have the opportunity to mix it up a little bit and throw in a range of different styles. Obviously, that one is a little different for us. It was fun; Ed jammed on harmonica and did a little solo acoustic gig. It is his version of a protest song.

Cryptic Rock – It’s good to mix it up, like you said. This record does have a lot of different sounds in it. You can do that more when you have such a large span of time to work, and twenty tracks is a lot.

You mentioned a little bit earlier how the band has kind of selfishly done what they wanted through the years. That being said, there are no Collective Soul records that sound like the last one. If you listen to all the records, they all have a different sound to them.

Dean Roland – It is interesting that you say that. That’s not a premeditated thing for us as well. We’ve always taken the notion of – go in and ultimately serve the song. You have the idea at that moment. If you even want to get more nuanced about it, you serve that initial creative spark that starts the song. Then you work from there and you start to build it.

We’ve never really tried to fit into any particular genre, any particular time, or part of Pop culture. We just do what we feel we like, what’s kind of inspiring us at that moment, and we just roll with it.

Cryptic Rock – That feels quite obvious if you pay attention to each album. If you look back at the band, and what they have accomplished through the years, 1999’s Dosage was a huge turning point in everything. 

Dosage really set the precedent for Alternative Rock in the late ’90s going into the 2000s with recordings. That album had a lot of interesting sounds within it. It feels likes many of the recording techniques used were the standard for what other bands did thereafter in the 2000s. 

Dean Roland – Yes, looking at our career thus far as… Dosage was the end of our first act. I loved that record. I loved the making of it. It was probably one of the most collaborative records that we’ve made. It turned out really well.

Then as we’ve gone on, I really do feel like Here to Eternity is the beginning of the next chapter for us in a lot of ways. With Jesse Triplett and Johnny Rabb being onboard in the band, they’ve been with us for nearly 10 years now. The groove and the chemistry within the band is just really smooth. It’s natural, organic, and feels good. That really is what led us to making the double record. We were able to get in the studio and, I don’t want to say effortlessly, but really just go through it. When you find that groove, you just keep going, and keep rolling with it.

Cryptic Rock – Understood. That is a pretty big statement to make that this is the next chapter in the band’s career; considering it’s been 30 years. Let us hope you guys go another 30 years!

Dean Roland – (Laughs) I don’t know, 30 more is going to be tough. We’ll take it a day at a time. We’ll take it an album at a time, or one tour at a time.

Collective Soul - Here To Eternity
Here to Eternity / Fuzze-Flex (2024)

Cryptic Rock – Right. You mentioned how Johnny and Jesse have been part of this now for over a decade. The core of Collective Soul has always been yourself, Ed, and Will Turpin. What has it been like for you three to work together after all this time ?

Dean Roland – I’ve known Will since I’ve been awake in this life, for real. He literally grew up down the street. His wife literally grew up across the street from Ed and I. Our families are just so intertwined. Obviously, Ed and I are brothers. You have that trust that exists.

I was talking to a friend recently and thought – I feel for athletes sometimes when they get traded. They go to another place, they’re playing on another team, and have to find that chemistry again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I can relate to how important that is. If you’re in a band, that chemistry is what matters almost the most… even more than the music. The music kind of comes after that. It’s an important thing. I don’t take it lightly. Being in a band this long… I think I do attribute so much of it to the deeper history.

Cryptic Rock – Good point. Essentially, all three of you are brothers. Touring has always been a big thing with Collective Soul as well. You are going to be heading out on pretty extensive touring this summer. The run will go into the fall with Hootie and the Blowfish, as well as Edwin McCain. You have done so much touring, and you have toured with so many different bands, such as Three Doors Down, etc. How excited are you for this tour?

Dean Roland – We’re excited about it. We’ve been buddies with those guys for many years. We were labelmates from Atlantic Records through the ’90s, and have just remained friends with them. We played shows together over the years. Darius Rucker dipped out and he’s been doing his solo Country career; which he’s had great success with. With them getting back together a few years ago, we just kind of rapped with them. It was a very organic thing for us to hop on with them, and with Edwin McCain as well. Edwin was on Atlantic Records as well too. We’re all kind of cut from the same cloth a little bit; different styles of music, but all within the same realm. We’re just going to go have some good fun. That’s really what it comes down to.

Cryptic Rock – It should be a great tour, and it is a perfect tour for the summer. You all have some really great tunes that could brighten people’s days. We need that kind of thing now. It is kind of a drab time in our history. Hate to be negative, but we need that positivity.

Dean Roland – We do. I definitely agree. There is a lot going on in this world and it is hard trying to make sense of it. Sometimes you just need to sit around, go and escape it for a minute, just listen to some tunes and have some fun.

Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. Music is the one thing that unifies all of us no matter where we stand personally. That is what it always has been.

Dean Roland – Yeah. My mom would tell me that music is the universal language. We weren’t forced to make music or to play music, but they encouraged us to at least learn some variance of it.

Our dad was a voice major in college. My mom played piano, and she was like, “Just give it a shot. Learn the basics. If you can talk like this, you can talk to any language, any person in the world with just music.” I was just a kid. I was like, “I guess that makes sense. Whatever.”

Cryptic Rock – And look where it led you both. Like you said, that is what is great about music. It is very much really a human thing. Not to get off subject, but it seems like there is all this talk about artificial intelligence in music, but honestly, how could it ever replace the human element?

Dean Roland – Oh, boy. Yeah, that’s a loaded one. I really don’t think it can. But it’s getting really good. (Laughs) It is pretty crazy what is going on in this world. You already have bands – Which I don’t judge them, and I believe in do what you got to do – but they are playing live with computers playing it anyway. It’s already been going on to some extent and with some hybrid version of it. I dig it to a degree.

We take pride in the fact that we get on stage and there’s five people up there just playing the music. Each part has to work in concert with the other. It’s really very analog. It’s very human. We have to own it, good or bad. It’s just us up there doing it.

Collective Soul - Aftewords
Aftewords / El Music Group (2007)
Collective Soul See What You Started by Continuing
See What You Started by Continuing / Vanguard (2015)

Cryptic Rock – That is what Rock-n-Roll is all about. It is about a bunch of musicians getting on stage, having a good time, or getting together and recording as a band. Speaking of which, you all were together to record the new album, yes?

Dean Roland – Correct. We just literally setup in the house in Elvis’ living room area. We would record as many takes as needed, run through the songs, and make sure we had the arrangements down, etc. We would do that to get the best, probably, three live tracks that we had, and then that would be the foundation. Then we did some overdub; you know guitar parts and stuff. The guts of it were recorded live though.

Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. Let’s talk a bit more about recording in Elvis’s house. That had to be pretty surreal.

Dean Roland – Yeah, especially in the beginning. You get there, it’s like the house hadn’t been touched. For better or for worse, it hadn’t been touched since he passed; it was the same kitchen appliances, and the bathrooms were the same with the same tiles/colors. It’s crazy and pretty weird being in that.

Then it takes a little bit of time to find a spot where you want to be in the setup while you’re recording. You just want to get your own little world setup; that relates to sitting next to Jesse and John is across the way doing drums, with Will and Ed is in the control room doing his thing.

You go in with the reverence and the respect of it being Elvis’ house, which is super cool and exactly where he recorded. It’s like he’s still lingering somewhere in the ether. However, you kind of lose it, get into your own world, start recording, and find your own creative space.

Cryptic Rock – That makes sense. It sounds like it was a fantastic experience. You mentioned a little about the new documentary. Was the recording of this new album incorporated into the documentary?

Dean Roland – Yeah. We started a couple of years ago just putting together archival stuff and a career spanning thing. We’ve been doing it on and off for many years, but we really got serious about it.

Then, when the opportunity came up for us to record at Elvis’ house and we were going to do a record there, we were like, “Okay. We definitely want to document that. Let’s just document that and build it into the stuff we’ve already done.” It’s kind of a two-in-one. It’s the history of the band, and it bounces back and forth to us recording this album at Elvis’ house.

Collective Soul live at The Paramount Huntington, NY 10-15-15
Collective Soul live at The Paramount Huntington, NY 10-15-15

Cryptic Rock – Very fantasticating. Do we have a release date set for the documentary yet?  

Dean Roland – I’m guessing in the fall or winter time. We’re not sure yet. It’s in the post production part of everything now. I’ve had a fast track of learning how filmmaking works, and I literally know nothing still. There is a lot that goes into it. The edits are done, and then they have to go through all kinds of licensing, approvals, etc. It should be done and hopefully be out in October or November of this year.

Cryptic Rock – That is good news. There was also the recent release of Dosage on vinyl for Record Store Day through Craft Recordings.

Dean Roland – Yeah. As I said, I am very fond of that record and the making of it in that time period. It was a highlight for us.

Cryptic Rock – Yes, and the vinyl is really a great collector’s item to pick up too since it is a lemonade yellow pressing. Last question for you. You said you have always primarily looked forward. That in mind, over 30 years into this, what are some of the most important things that you have learned?

Dean Roland – The things that you think really matter in that moment that are causing you distress, really don’t matter as much as you think they do. You literally have to keep moving forward. Having gone through personal sacrifices… in those early days, we were on tour basically years at a time and we would just be gone. That takes a toll on personal relationships and all of those things.

I don’t want to say you have to keep your eye on the prize, but on your goal, what makes you happy, and try to find that place. Don’t get too caught up in the ups and downs one way or another. You have to find that middle ground and just ground yourself in what’s real. That’s helped. Being in a band with your brother and lifelong friends also helps too. If anybody gets out of whack, somebody’s stepping in and says, “Dude, what are you doing?” All those things help keep you grounded and keep perspective.

Collective Soul 2024 Tour Dates:
May 30 Dallas, TX Dos Equis Pavilion
May 31 Rogers, AR Walmart AMP
June 1 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 4 Columbus, OH The Bluestone
June 6 Detroit, MI Pine Knob Music Theatre
June 7 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
June 8 Indianapolis, IN Ruoff Music Center
June 13 Gilford, NH BankNH Pavilion
June 14 Bangor, ME Maine Savings Amphitheatre
June 15 Saratoga Springs, NY Broadview Stage at SPAC
June 21 Boston, MA Fenway Park
June 25 Erie, PA Warner Theatre
June 27 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
June 28 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
June 29 Burgettstown, PA The Pavilion at Star Lake
July 10 Denver, CO Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
July 11 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheater
July 13 Phoenix, AZ Footprint Center
July 16 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
July 17 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 19 Portland, OR RV Inn Styles Amphitheatre
July 20 Seattle, WA White River Amphitheatre
July 23 Fargo, ND Scheels Arena
July 24 Omaha, NE Steelhouse Omaha
July 26 Birmingham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
July 27 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
July 28 Evansville, IN Victory Theatre
Aug. 1 Hartford, CT The XFINITY Theatre
Aug. 2 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug. 3 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
Aug. 6 Grand Rapids, MI GLC Live at 20 Monroe
Aug. 8 Somerset, WI Somerset Amphitheater
Aug. 9 Chicago, IL Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre
Aug. 10 East Troy, WI Alpine Valley Music Theatre
Aug. 15 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
Aug. 16 Philadelphia, PA Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
Aug. 17 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 29 Columbia, SC Colonial Life Arena
Aug. 31 North Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues – Myrtle Beach
Sept. 5 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Sept. 6 Syracuse, NY Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview
Sept. 7 Toronto, ONT. Budweiser Stage
Sept. 12 Knoxville, TN Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center
Sept. 13 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
Sept. 14 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Sept. 19 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
Sept. 20 Alpharetta, GA Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Sept. 21 Greenville, SC Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Sept. 26 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sept. 27 Jacksonville, FL VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
Sept. 28 West Palm Beach, FL iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
Sat 10/12 N. Charleston, SC Riverfront Revival
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